I appreciate this. You wouldn't think I would, but I'm interested in your story. As I continually say, I'm not offended by anyone's faith, I'm offended by the impetus of insecurity that makes folks share it door to door. You found this and I think that's how all faith must be-found and not sold.
You made mention that you never asked for the full story - I donno if you did. I'm really not one who shares the entire story. I don't think it's something to offer everyone. It's been for me a pretty intimate part of my life and one I do not share casually. I don't often want to share. It's a part of me and would be like explaining my eye color.
When I was younger the idea of faith was a big concern to me. I can't remember ever having a relationship with a creator, but my mother was always working on that relationship. She went through the Charismatic Renewal movement and was always active with the church. It was a very Catholic thing for her - still is. I was exposed to religion and faith and god from a very early age. These things were her faith and her strength. To me, they were interesting.
Questioning your parents requires questioning yourself. Your identity is so wrapped up in your family. It's interesting to me that you say that I planted some seeds in you with my high school antagonism. Had you asked me in high school what I believed I would have old you that I believed in God, but I was not a christian. I've not been a christian since I can remember.
Through out my 20s I was hungry. I had an incredible appetite for meaning ten years ago that put me in libraries and bookstores and in a lot of cases robbed me of life. I have spent so much time looking into things they don't want you to know abut religions. My appetite was not as strong as my desire to understand.
As for atheism, I can't claim that until my thirties. At some point the appetite to ascribe meaning died. I don't care anymore. I don't think there's a god, but I don't particularly care who does believe it. I'm not empty, I'm not immoral and I'm not interested.
Having spent a little time with Kierkegaard I found that the finality of that desire to believe is the leap of faith. There's a time in the journey when you either must resolve to enter into polemics and exit a search for Truth or you must leap over the gaps in evidence. I am unable to resolve the errors in the historicity of Christ nor to deny them. I cannot accept the bible as a book of either facts or history.
You looked for facts and I relate. I just never found enough. The most damning thing to me is hearing the story of Christ had been told before. If you look back to Sumerian mythology you find most of our bible from Deluge to death and resurrection. It seems to me that if these stories are archetypes then we have them because we need them rather than because they are true.
And that's been the only offensive part of faith to me: the idea of Truth...capital T Truth. We operate in a void of evidence for a historical Christ or a God. Any one who tells you differently has replaced the hunger to know with a drive for apologetics. Looking for a third party verification leaves us somewhat frustrated. We have: Tacitus, Josephus (unfortunately undermined by the Testimonium Flavianum), Origen (who only serves to discredit the Testimonium Flavianum), Suetonius (profoundly vague) and Pliny the Younger. There are references to Christians from other sources, but there has never been any doubt in my head that there has been Christians.
But getting into my pillars of belief is pointless. I'm glad you have something that works for you. I think essentially we are in a great big vacuum of evidence - you draw your conclusions and I draw mine.
The fundamental thing that's important to me to convey is that I don't have any absence or sense of incompleteness. I don't feel empty. I'm not sad or angry or any of that. I'm the most at peace I've ever been - although I attribute that to age rather than atheism.
I'd love to hear more. Whatever you wish to share. I'm not likely to get too much more into this. I find what I believe to be disruptive and I'm not as into that as I used to be. I don't think you can argue with a belief and I think beliefs are the enemy of facts - yes, even mine. I do not believe the human condition includes objectivity except in gods or monsters.
"To live alone one must either be a god or a monster"
I think that applies in large part to what we make of ourselves. Some people serve and some people need to invest the world for themselves. I choose the latter. I make myself the god or the monster. And if you look at the Old Testament god you'll find only a slight difference.
Talk to you soon,
in light of my negligence here...
I'm posting a letter I wrote this last week. Wheee!
Posted by Kevin Trudo at 11:10 PM